Training Agents of Change

USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work
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Training Agents of Change

Our social work and nursing students have incredible opportunities to enhance their educational experience around the world. They attend professional development events and participate in deeply impactful cultural immersions.

Gaining Global Experience Firsthand

Our students have opportunities to participate in national and global immersions in communities very different from their own. These immersion programs provide first-hand experience of cultures and practices they cannot learn from a book, such as learning about policy making in Washington, D.C., studying the impact of human trafficking in the Philippines, understanding the immigration process in Mexico or spending time with the Lakota people on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation in South Dakota.

“Coming on this immersion … really refocused me and it reminded me that this is the type of grassroots work that I want to do. This is why I fell in love with this profession. This is why I want to become a social worker.”

 —Kendra Bullocks, MSW ’17, on the Native American Immersion in South Dakota

An MSW student plays outdoors with children at the Sioux YMCA in South Dakota.
MSW students attend a cultural lecture in South Dakota.
USC MSW students on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation in South Dakota.

Immersion programs allow students to learn skills that will have practical application in their future service to their profession.

“The immersion had a lot of tough moments, but it’s what we signed up for. We were challenged not just as professionals, but also as people.”

—Luis Juarez, MSW ’17, on the Mexico Immersion

MSW students participating in the Mexico immersion learn what families and individuals from Mexico and Central America experience when they immigrate to the United States.

They gain a deeper understanding of other cultures and models of service in new settings.

“There were a few very powerful experiences that reminded me that there are people who really need help and are not on the news every day.”

—Caryn Lindsay, MSW ’17, on the Philippines Immersion

An MSW student plays with children in the Philippines.

They interact with government agencies to learn about innovative policy formation and best practices.

“As social workers we tend to not understand what these agencies do since we’re more used to grassroots, but I think we need to understand on a larger scale to be able to impact the communities that we serve.”

—MSW student Lisette Martinez, on the Washington D.C. Immersion

MSW students gather in Washington, D.C. for an immersion focused on policy making.

Supporting Students in Their Cultural and Professional Development

Our world needs culturally competent leaders who can anticipate emerging issues and lead at the local, national and global levels. The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work provides the most innovative and extensive training for social workers and nurses, and every qualified student should be able to choose USC to receive the highest standard of education regardless of their financial circumstances.

Investing in students through scholarships is one of the most significant ways we can advance the role of social workers and nurses in society, ultimately effecting change in the communities in which they serve.

We have launched a new effort to support students with our Agents of Change Scholarship Initiative. It is vital that we make more scholarship funds available for as many students as possible and ease the burden of debt as they begin their careers.

During the first phase of this initiative, we are fundraising for scholarships that will help students to participate in conferences, research and immersion experiences globally. These scholarships will provide financial support for academic and travel expenses associated with these activities.

MSW students pose with children in the Philippines during an immersion focused on exploring strategies to disrupt human trafficking and modern day slavery.

You Can Make a Difference

We are asking all members of our community—alumni, parents and friends—to join us in supporting our students by making a gift in support of scholarships. Gifts of all sizes will make a difference and contribute to our overall goal of providing more scholarship opportunities to more students.

Members of our giving society, the Advocates Circle, will receive new courtesies this year in recognition of their support, including complimentary and discounted access to our newly expanded career services, professional development and CEU events. Advocates Circle members who give at the $500 level will also have insider access to exclusive field trips to agencies and organizations that highlight the innovative research and work of our faculty, alumni and students.

We are very grateful for your support and commitment to our students, and to preparing them to address the many complex challenges that our society faces today. Together, we can make the world a better place!